Today is not a good day to be a tabloid newspaper.
The revelation that the News of the World hacked into Milly Dowler’s voicemail after she was abducted, potentially impeding the investigation into her disappearance and giving false hope to her family, is still spreading its way across the Internet, and making its way offline too.
UPDATE: Now, we learn of the possibility that the families of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman may have been targeted as well.
At the time of writing, the “#notw” hashtag is the top trending topic on Twitter for the United Kingdom, with “Rebekah Brooks“, who was editor of the News of the World at the time, and “News International” ranking as the 4th and 8th trending topics respectively.
There is talk on Twitter of pressuring companies who advertise in the News of the World to withdraw their ads, and requests for people to call the NOTW’s newsdesk and leave polite(!) messages. Even a planned protest outside the headquarters of News International in London for this Friday.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Press Gazette are reporting that Milly Dowler’s family are to sue the News of the World over the hacking claims.
And all of this on the day that The Sun and the Daily Mirror are to go on trial for contempt of court over their reporting of Joanna Yeates’ murder.
Both newspapers, including a number of others, conducted a vicious and hysterical witch-hunt against Christopher Jefferies, who was named by police as a suspect and later cleared.
I’m sure many people will be watching to see how these events unwind over the next couple of weeks and months. Whatever the outcome, we can only hope that it leads to a press that is more responsible and more trustworthy, because what we have at the moment stinks.